Simona Halep vs. Karolina Pliskova, Miami SF Preview

🇺🇸🐬 Miami Open, SF #2 Preview
🇷🇴 (2) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇿 (5) Karolina Pliskova

Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova will renew hostilities when they do battle on Thursday evening with a spot in the Miami Open final up for grabs. Halep and Pliskova are familiar foes, this will be the 10th career meeting between the two former world number 1’s. Halep has been fairly dominant in this match-up in recent times and looks set to continue that dominance in Miami.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her quarter-final match at the 2019 Miami Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Simona Halep is just 1 victory away from recapturing the world number 1 ranking and reaching her first Miami final. Halep’s form has generally been good over the last few months, the only thing missing is a title, that should change over the next few days. Halep started her Miami campaign with a commanding straight set win over Taylor Townsend before battling past Polona Hercog 6-7 7-6 6-2 in what was her biggest test of the event so far. Halep booked her spot in the final 4 with straight set wins over Venus Williams and Qiang Wang.

Karolina Pliskova is through to yet another Miami semi-final. Pliskova hasn’t always done things the easy way on route to the final 4. Pliskova started the event with a fairly comfortable straight set win over Petra Martic before coming from a set down to defeat Alize Cornet and Yulia Putintseva. Pliskova produced a far more consistent performance to secure her semi-final spot as she defeated Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 6-4.

Halep holds a 7-2 head-to-head record over Pliskova. Halep has won 4 of the last 5 matches between the pair including a 6-4 5-7 6-4 victory in their most recent match during a Fed Cup tie earlier this year. Halep holds an overall 6-1 record over Pliskova on hard courts.

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Simona Halep vs. Marketa Vondrousova, Indian Wells R4 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R4 Preview
🇷🇴 (2) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇿 Marketa Vondrousova

Simona Halep continues her BNP Paribas Open campaign on Tuesday with a fourth round clash against Marketa Vondrousova. The world number 2 has made a good start to the tournament as she attempts to win her second Indian Wells title having gone all the way in 2015.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her third-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Halep has come through two reasonably tough matches in straight sets to reach the fourth round in Indian Wells. Halep started the tournament with a competitive 6-2 6-4 win over Barbora Strycova after receiving a bye through the first round. Halep confirmed her place in the fourth round with a hard-fought 7-6 7-5 win over Kateryna Kozlova, Halep was made to work especially hard in this match, perhaps the test she needed as she heads into the business end of the tournament.

Marketa Vondrousova continues to rise up the WTA standings. Vondrousova has defeated 3 tricky opponents on route to the fourth round in Indian Wells. Vondrousova started the event with a 6-4 7-6 win over Laura Siegemund before upsetting last year’s runner up: Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-1. Vondrousova’s toughest test came against Jelena Ostapenko in the third round, Vondrousova overcame several deficits to ultimately claim a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory.

This will be the first career meeting between Halep and Vondrousova. Can the young Czech cause the world number 2 any real problems?

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Simona Halep vs. Belinda Bencic, Dubai QF Preview

🇦🇪🐪 Dubai DFTC – QF Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇭 Belinda Bencic

Simona Halep continues her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign on Thursday evening with a quarter-final showdown against Belinda Bencic. Halep has done well to quickly recover from playing in the Doha final on Saturday and thus far has conserved energy well in Dubai given she is yet to drop a set.

Halep has done well to come through a couple of tight matches in straight sets to reach the quarter-final stage in Dubai. The 2015 Dubai champion started the event with a hard-fought 7-6 6-4 win over Eugenie Bouchard before battling past Lesia Tsurenko 6-3 7-5. Importantly, Halep has been able to raise her game at the business end of each set this tournament, that was on full display in the second set against Tsurenko where Halep won the last 12 points of the match, a good sign that Halep is feeling really confident at the moment.

Belinda Bencic is through to her first premier level quarter-final since Connecticut last year. Bencic started her Dubai campaign with a 6-4 7-6 win over Lucie Hradecka before cruising past Stefanie Voegele 6-1 6-1. Bencic’s best win of the tournament and indeed her best win of the year came at the third round stage where she saved match points in an epic 6-4 2-6 7-6 victory against Aryna Sabalenka.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. It has been a while since these two have gone head-to-head, their most recent match was back in 2015 in the Toronto final where Bencic won in 3 sets via retirement. Halep won their only completed match 6-4 6-1 at Wimbledon in 2014.

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Simona Halep vs. Lesia Tsurenko, Dubai R3 Preview

🇦🇪🐪 Dubai DFTC – R3 Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko

Simona Halep continues her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign on Wednesday with a third round meeting against the Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko. Halep and Tsurenko played just last week in Doha where Halep claimed a comfortable win in straight sets, will we see a similar result here?

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Halep is starting to find her feet in 2019, the former world number 1 and reigning Roland Garros champion arrived in Dubai on the back of a solid run to the final in Doha last week and made a good start to her Dubai campaign yesterday. Halep received an opening round bye in Dubai before battling past Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 6-4 in a high quality encounter.

Lesia Tsurenko has won contrasting matches on route to the third round in Dubai. Tsurenko easily defeated Yulia Putintseva in the opening round where the Kazakh retired early in the second set. Tsurenko battled through her second round match where she outlasted Lin Zhu 6-4 6-7 6-3 in just under 2 and a half hours.

Halep holds a perfect 6-0 record over Tsurenko and has been completely untroubled in this match-up of late. Halep defeated Tsurenko 6-4 6-1 in Cincinnati last year, whilst just last week Halep claimed a 6-2 6-3 win over the Ukrainian in Doha. Halep has never dropped a set to Tsurenko on a hard court.

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Simona Halep vs. Eugenie Bouchard, Dubai R2 Preview

Dubai DFTC – R2 Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇨🇦 (wc) Eugenie Bouchard

Simona Halep begins her Dubai campaign on Tuesday with a second round match against Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard. Halep has dominated this match-up in recent times and is a strong favourite to continue that dominance here.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her semi-final at the 2019 Qatar Total Open WTA Premier tennis tournament

Halep is a former champion in Dubai having won the title in 2015, the second seed brings good form into this event after reaching the final last week in Doha where she claimed some notable victories. Halep has generally made a good start to the season and seems to be getting stronger and stronger as the season progresses.

Bouchard is slowly moving back up the WTA standings. Bouchard has made a decent stat to the year by her recent standards and did produce one of better performances of late to book her spot in the second round in Dubai as she comfortably defeated Vera Lapko 6-3 6-4 in little over an hour.

Simona Halep holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Bouchard. Halep has cruised through their most recent matches, including a 6-2 6-2 win at the Australian Open last year in their latest match.

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Simona Halep vs. Sofia Kenin, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open, R2 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇸 Sofia Kenin

Simona Halep navigated her way through a tough opening round match on Tuesday evening against Kaia Kanepi and faces another tough early round test on Thursday against America’s Sofia Kenin. Halep was forced to come from a set and a break down in her first round match and is likely to face another stern challenge against Kenin who arrived in Melbourne fresh off winning her first career singles title in Hobart.

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her first-round match at the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Halep’s opening round match-up with Kanepi was always going to be a tough one. Kanepi defeated Halep at the opening round stage of the US Open last year and it seemed the same would happen in Melbourne when Kanepi led by a set and a break. However, the world number 1 dug deep and eventually broke the spirits of Kanepi midway through the third set to claim an important 6-7 6-4 6-2 victory. Halep showcased her improved mental strength and was increasingly aggressive in the important moments.

Sofia Kenin has made a very strong start to the season. Kenin won the doubles title in Auckland in week 1 before winning the singles title in Hobart the week after. Kenin was very impressive in Hobart, especially in the final where she dominated Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in her first career singles final on the WTA tour. Kenin also needed to dig deep to get through her opening round match in Melbourne, the American battled past Veronika Kudermetova 6-3 3-6 7-5 in what was her first main draw victory at the Australian Open.

This will be the first career meeting between Halep and Kenin. Can an in-form Kenin push the world number 1?

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Simona Halep vs. Kaia Kanpei, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open , R1 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi

The number 1 player in the world will begin her 2019 Australian Open campaign against a familiar foe. Simona Halep will take on Kaia Kanepi in a first round showdown at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, a dangerous opening round match-up for the Romanian. Kanepi defeated Halep in straight sets at the first round stage of the US Open last year, can the big-hitting Estonian cause another big upset?

Simona Halep of Romania in action during her second-round match at the 2019 Sydney International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Simona Halep is one of the main contenders at the opening grand Slam of 2019, the 2018 runner-up will give her all to go one step further in 2019. Halep started her 2019 campaign a little late, she decided to skip the first week and instead start her season in Sydney. Halep was handed a premature exit in Sydney, the top seed was eliminated in her opening match of the tournament, beaten by Ashleigh Barty in straight sets. It’s hard to read too much into Halep’s loss in Sydney, the conditions were very tough in Sydney, very windy and Halep was understandably rusty in her first match in a while. Melbourne will be a different story.

Kaia Kanepi has not played a match since the US Open last year where she defeated Halep on route to reaching the fourth round. Kanepi took a set of Serena Williams in the fourth round at the US Open, this is the last time we have seen Kanepi in a competitive match, over 4 months ago. Given the her lack of recent matches it is hard to know where Kaia Kanepi is at right now, she is very much a hit or miss type of player.

Kanepi’s 6-2 6-4 victory over Halep at the US Open last year is their only previous meeting. Kanepi’s powerful game blasted through Halep on that occasion, can she do it again in Melbourne?

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Simona Halep vs. Kiki Bertens, Cincinnati Final Preview

🇺🇸 Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati Final Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens

Simona Halep will be looking to extend her winning streak and strengthen her hold at the top of the rankings when she takes on Kiki Bertens in Sunday’s final at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Halep and Bertens are arguably the two form players over the last month, expect a high quality final between two extremely confident competitors. Halep has had the better of this match-up in the past but this will be their first match on a hard court in almost a decade. Can Bertens take down the world number 1 to win the biggest title of her career?

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Western & Southern Open WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Simona Halep is on a roll, full of confidence and at the top of her game. Halep arrived in Cincinnati straight from a gruelling final win over Sloane Stephens at the Rogers Cup. It would have been understandable if Halep took this tournament lightly, to the contrary she has been extremely strong on route to her 6th final of the year. The world number 1 made a slow start to the event with a 3 set win over Ajla Tomljanovic before beating Ashleigh Barty, Lesia Tsurenko and Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. Halep’s ability to take down a red-hot Sabalenka was certainly a confidence boosting win.

It has been an outstanding month for Kiki Bertens. Bertens arrived in Cincinnati fresh from back-to-back quarter-final appearances at Wimbledon and the Rogers Cup. Bertens rolled through her first couple of matches, beating CoCo Vandeweghe and Caroline Wozniacki, dropping a combined 6 games. Bertens then required 3 sets to get by Anett Kontaveit in an injury interrupted match before producing her best performance in a straight set demolition of Elina Svitolina. Bertens booked her spot in the final with a gutsy 3-6 6-4 6-2 win over Petra Kvitova to give herself a chance to win a maiden hard court title.

Halep holds a 3-1 H2H record over Bertens. Halep won the two recent meetings between the pair, both in straight sets: 7-5 6-1 in Rome last year and 6-4 6-3 at Wimbledon in 2016. This will be the first meeting between the two on a hard court in almost 8 years.

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Simona Halep vs. Sloane Stephens, Montreal Final Preview

🇨🇦🏆 Rogers Cup, Montreal. Final Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇸 (3) Sloane Stephens

Sunday’s championships match in Montreal will be a heavyweight battle between arguably the 2 best players in the world as world number 1 and former champion Simona Halep takes on reigning U.S Open champion Sloane Stephens. It is Halep who has had the better of this match-up, the Romanian has won the last 5 meetings between the two including a notable victory in the Roland Garros final earlier this year. Stephens is playing great tennis this week, can she finally get the better of Halep?

Simona Halep of Romania playing doubles at the 2018 Coupe Rogers WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Simona Halep may have made a slow start to the tournament but she enters Sunday’s final in excellent form. Halep required over 3 hours to get the better of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (7-6 4-6 7-5) in the opening round. Halep has been on a roll since that tough opening round match, defeating Venus Williams (6-2 6-2), Caroline Garcia (7-5 6-1) and Ashleigh Barty (6-4 6-1) in straight sets. The level of tennis Halep produced in her wins over Garcia and Barty was particularly impressive, tennis worthy of a world number 1.

Sloane Stephens has been all business right from the offset in Montreal. The American has reached the final without dropping a set, victories over Francoise Abanda (6-0 6-2), Carla Suarez Navarro (6-2 7-5), Anastasija Sevastova (6-2 6-2) and Elina Svitolina (6-3 6-3). Stephens saved her best tennis for an extremely impressive semi-final win over Elina Svitolina, Sloane’s forehand was dominant from start to finish as she hit the defending champion off the court. More of the same is required for Sloane to have a chance on Sunday in what has been a troublesome match-up for her.

Halep holds a dominant 6-2 H2H record over Stephens. Halep has won the last 5 meetings between the pair, 4 of those 5 matches were straight set victories. The most recent match between the pair took place in the Roland Garros final earlier this year, a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory for Halep.

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Simona Halep vs. Ashleigh Barty, Montreal SF Preview

🇨🇦 Rogers Cup, Montreal. SF Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇦🇺 (15) Ashleigh Barty

Simona Halep and Ashleigh Barty will go head-to-head for this first time when they meet in Saturday’s first semi-final in Montreal. Halep and Barty were both very impressive in straight set quarter-final victories over quality opposition on Friday and will head into this match full of confidence. Does Barty have the precision required to get past the world number 1 or will the Romanian be too strong?

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates winning her third-round match at the 2018 Coupe Rogers WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Simona Halep produced some sensational tennis to defeat Caroline Garcia 7-5 6-1 and reach the semi-final in Montreal. Halep and Garcia went toe-to-toe for the majority of the first set, but Halep broke clear later in the opener as she found a level that not many can match. Halep, a former champion in Montreal, maintained an extremely high level in the second set as she ran away with the match. It was an especially impressive performance given Halep spent 4 hours on court the day before, a marathon 3 set win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and a straight set win over Venus Williams.

Ash Barty will be competing in arguably the biggest match of her career thus far when she takes to the court against the world number 1. Barty heads into this match with good momentum after a 6-3 6-1 demolition of Kiki Bertens confirmed her spot in the semi-finals. Prior to that win Barty required 3 sets to get by Irina-Camelia Begu in the opening round before defeating Alison Van Uytvanck and Alize Cornet in straight sets.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out as the pair do battle for the very first time.

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